Calgary Herald Neighbours

DadCAMP appears every two weeks in The Calgary Herald Neighbours section. This was originally published the weekend of March 29, 2014.

[twitter]As spring break rolls to an end, chances are you’re just about out of ideas. Spent.

After plowing through the extended days of the Teacher’s Convention last month, and the break for spring this month, you’ve likely found yourself at wit’s end trying to come up with fresh ways to keep the kids entertained.

I know school is not supposed to be considered “babysitting,” but it does keep them occupied for a nice stretch – doesn’t it?

As we roll into the final weekend of March, here are some ideas you might not have thought about to keep your kids away from the gaming systems and screens while having fun and maybe even learning.

Devonian Gardens - DadCAMP

Devonian Gardens

It could be sunny and 25 degrees, and the malls of the city would still be packed. What can you say, we’re a mall rat kind of city. However, if spring has not advanced fast enough for your liking, a visit to the revamped Devonian Gardens in The CORE can refresh your spirit.

There’s the playground for the young ones, and on our recent visit we brought our old camera for my 6yr old son to take some pictures. He’s starting to become a shutterbug and the Devonian Gardens is an entire world of inspiration for things to shoot. And it’s green. And feels like spring.

Chinook Centre

Disney Junior and LEGO Duplo have teamed up for the Magic of Play tour across Canada this spring, attacking each major city’s spring break with buckets of bricks for kids to play with. This weekend they are at Chinook Centre outside The Bay (where Santa usually sets up). Frankly, a visit to The LEGO Store period is one I’m up for with the kids on any random weekend or afternoon. My boys love the play centres in the middle of the store and could hang their for hours.

The Airport

I love taking my boys to hang at the airport. Whether it’s packing a picnic lunch and parking at the Edward H Laborde viewing area at the end of the runway off McKnight Blvd NE, or hanging inside the airport itself, planes and kids go together. The kids love watching the planes take off and taxi, and seeing all the construction going on with the expansion project. The big windows in the Level 3 Food Court offer a great view of all that’s going on and make it a fun place to go with the kids any day of the year.

Telus Spark in Calgary - DadCAMP

Telus Spark or The Zoo

It’s the final few weeks of our time with the elephants at the Calgary Zoo (the exhibit closes April 13), and when I think about heading down Memorial Dr, that’s always the first place I think of taking the kids, but what about heading across the parking lot and visiting Telus Spark? The Creative Kids Museum can keep them occupied for hours, and inside there are planetarium shows and a wonder of displays to wander about and “learn” while they “play”.


If the weather cooperates, taking the kids outside for a fun and exciting treasure hunt is tops. Places like the Weaselhead of Glenmore Reservoir, Nose Hill Park, or Griffith Woods in Discovery are teeming with tiny little treasures, or geocaches. Simply go to to get the app for your smartphone and to find out where they are hiding. Chances are there are a few right in your own neighborhood. Then, take the kids for a treasure hunt looking for the take and trade toys. Next thing you know, you’ve spent the afternoon outside and had a lot of exercise.

That should be good to get you going and even if you’ve got them sorted for this week, the Easter break is just three weeks away. Sigh.

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